Runner-up for Koretsky at Houston has the veteran driver optimistic and pumped. BAYTOWN, Texas -- Numbers from this weekend's 10th annual Pontiac Excitement Pro Stock SuperBowl at Houston Raceway Park gave Kenny Koretsky, driver of the KPK ...
Runner-up for Koretsky at Houston has the veteran driver optimistic and pumped.
BAYTOWN, Texas -- Numbers from this weekend's 10th annual Pontiac Excitement Pro Stock SuperBowl at Houston Raceway Park gave Kenny Koretsky, driver of the KPK Motorsports/Nickens Brothers Racing Dodge Neon R/T, reason to be optimistic about the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series which begins next weekend (Feb. 6-9) with the 43rd annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
The recently formed racing program between Koretsky, from Richboro, Pa., and former driver and engine builder David Nickens, of Conroe, Texas, began to pay dividends immediately upon taking to the Houston Raceway Park quarter-mile. With engine power supplied by Nickens, who worked with crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia, Jr. on tuning and setup operations, Koretsky ran career best numbers.
Koretsky ran an unofficial career best time and speed in Friday's second test session for Pro Stock cars when he recorded a pass of 6.811 seconds at 202.58 mph. Both bested his official career best of 6.833 seconds at 201.52 mph established at the 2002 NHRA Matco Tools SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J.
During qualifying on Saturday for the 16-car field for the Pontiac Excitement Pro Stock SuperBowl, Koretsky lowered his elapsed time (e.t.) of Friday and increased the speed number when he ran an e.t. of 6.775 seconds and a speed of 203.22 mph. His pass was good for the seventh qualifying position for the afternoon competition.
In the opening round of eliminations Koretsky faced former NBA player turned drag racer, Tom Hammonds, from Crestview, Fla. Hammonds recorded a pass of 6.789 seconds at 203.12 to qualify 12th. Hammonds was away first at the green light but the Nickens-powered Neon of Koretsky passed Hammonds near the finish line to take the win. For Koretsky that brought about an all Nickens and all Dodge match-up in the quarterfinals.
Against David's son Bo, in a Dodge Neon R/T prepared by Nickens Brothers Racing, the veteran Koretsky gained a holeshot win. (A holeshot is an advantage at the starting line achieved by the driver having a quicker reaction time -- time between the green light and the car leaving the starting line). Koretsky's reaction time was .409 of a second (.400 being perfect); Nickens, from Conroe, Texas, recorded a reaction time of .478. The holeshot advantage of .069 enabled Koretsky's e.t. of 6.844 seconds to beat Nickens' quicker e.t. of 6.784 seconds.
Again in the semifinals it's Dodge against Dodge. Koretsky was pitted against former Pro Stock Truck driver Greg Stanfield, of Bossier City, La., who joined the Pro Stock car competition last season. The win went to Koretsky on another holeshot. With a reaction time of .426 for Koretsky to Stanfield's .469, Koretsky's 6.781/203.52 edges Stanfield's 6.777/204.08. Unnoticed in the holeshot victory was the fact that Koretsky once again lowered his unofficial career best e.t. and speed which now stands at 6.781 seconds at 203.52 mph.
In the semifinals, Koretsky hurt the engine in his Dodge Neon. Time constraints made it impossible to meet the bell for the final round against Ron Krisher, from Warren, Ohio. Krisher takes the 10th annual Pontiac Excitement Pro Stock SuperBowl title with Koretsky settling for runner-up.
"I hate that we were unable to challenge Ron (Krisher) in the finals but time wasn't on our side. But all in all we had a good warm up this weekend at Houston," said Koretsky. "The numbers we ran make me optimistic as we head to Pomona. There's a lot of good competition out there, but I feel that with Nickens power and Eddie Guarnaccia turning the wrenches on my Dodge Neon we'll be able to mix it up with all the big names. I think this year, with the competition so close, many races will be decided on driving ability. I plan to do my best from the time the first green light comes on at Pomona.
"I'm pumped. I've never been this excited entering the start of a season," added Koretsky.
"Several weeks ago I indicated that my experience with the Dodge Neon and our engine program should enable us to start out running. Today we did just that," said Nickens. "We've worked long and hard on power over the winter and it was great to see it come together here at Houston. Now if we can carry this momentum over to Pomona, we should start the 2003 season out on a good note."